Sunday, January 28, 2007

Random Reading: Showcase Presents Shazam! (Part One)

I picked up Showcase Presidents Shazam! this week and have read through the first thirteen issue's worth of material. It is some damn funny stuff.

First off, the one thing you need to know when reading this book is that people are stupid. They see a kid, they hear a kid yell "Shazam!", they see the kid get struck by lightning and then they see Captain Marvel, but can't quite make the connection between the kid and Captain Marvel. I don't care what you say, the whole Superman/Clark Kent thing seems downright sophisticated compared to this.

In the little brief origin recap, they try to explain it by saying that people are so dazzled, they don't even notice, but come on.

But, continuing on, I'm just going to give the best moments:

* Captain Marvel's origin: Bill Batson is selling newspapers in the rain before returning to the subway station where he sleeps when a stranger approaches him and takes him to a train with no driver, which the kid gets on. Then, Billy meets Shazam, the wizard who grants him the powers and after he becomes Captain Marvel, Shazam drops a huge block on himself. WHAT THE FUCK? That is the craziest origin ever. It's got so many fucked up things in it I don't know where to start.

* Mr. Mind, an alien genius worm that wants to kill Captain Marvel and take over the world destroys a museum so he can get back his glasses. Seriously. And then tries to destroy everything west of St. Louis while Captain Marvel wonders "BUT I CAN'T FIGURE OUT WHAT MR. MIND CAN DO HERE IN THE CENTER OF THE COUNTRY!" Well, he flies around in a little paper cup attached to a balloon. Go, Mr. Mind, go!

* Sunny Sparkle is a kid so nice people are always giving him stuff.

* A world famous inventor goes on TV to tell the world he's invented the most important thing since the wheel, but doesn't say what. Various racial stereotypes from around the world try to capture him until a US fed shows up and is all "It's your patriotic duty to hand it over" and it turns out it's an anti-gravity generator that everyone thinks is retarded.

* Because some guy was born on the same day as Billy, when he got his powers, so did this other guy. He can see the future, but only when hanging out with Billy.

* A hobo catches a leprechaun, makes a wish to be invisible and causes damage.

* Sunny Sparkle's cousin is jerk and tries to beat up Captain Marvel.

* Dr. Sivana knows Billy Batson is Captain Marvel, so he gives him a special watch that makes him take two minutes to say "Shazam!" without noticing. That is, until Billy notices his watch's time doesn't match with the TV station's clock and changes it. BUT, that clock was running fast, so now the watch is set incorrect and blows up.

* Dexter Knox is a boy genius and accidentally turns his grandmothers into a walking generator. So, when they hear Miami is undergoing a massive blackout, Captain Marvel and Dexter tell her she has to go, except she won't let Captain Marvel fly her there because she only travels by train. But, grandmoth--ONLY BY TRAIN, GODDAMMIT! FUCK MIAMI! So they stick her on a train and Captain Marvel pushes it at superspeed so it arrives quickly.

* A rumour gets started that saying "Captain Marvel" will end the world. And people believe it.

* Mr. Mind gets a bunch of worms together to fuel a hate-helmet that can knock Captain Marvel on his ass, so Captain Marvel uses dry ice to make it rain and thus cause the worms all litter the ground.

* Freddy Freeman is a crippled kid who turns into Captain Marvel Jr. by saying "Captain Marvel." And he actually spends most of his time as a crippled newsboy.

* Billy Batson says "Shazam!" and gives a monkey the power of Captain Marvel by accident. During that story, he talks to himself and says "Shazam" while in mid-air and almost kills himself.

* The cover to issue 10 has an old woman holding two guns. One to a priest's head, the other to Captain Marvel's and she screams "MARRY ME, YOU BIG RED CHEESE--OR ELSE!" How come covers today aren't that awesome?

* A spaceship of talking vegetables crash on Earth and need spare parts, so Captain Marvel and them make a movie about alien vegetables invading the planet to raise the money.

* The old lady, Aunt Minerva, hires two criminals (who she beats up on) to kill Captain Marvel and whoever does it will get a reward. When they fail, they find out the reward would have been her hand in marriage and they then thank Captain Marvel for sending them to prison.

* The guy at the local drug store makes a new form of gelatin that keeps expanding, so Captain Marvel begins finding people to help eat it.

* There's another kid who's so dull nobody ever notices he's there, even when he takes things right out of people's hands.

* A crime boss has a scientist make a Sunny Sparkle formula so he can be as liked as the kid, except Captain Marvel is immune. So, Captain Marvel follows the crime boss around and watches as people keep giving him stuff for free. When he confronts the criminal, Captain Marvel does the greatest thing ever, he says: "OH, I'M GOING TO GIVE YOU SOMETHING, ALL RIGHT--" and in the following panel, he says, "--THE BACK OF MY HAND!" while smacking the dude with a big "SLAAAPP!" sound effect.

* Mary Batson joins a Mary Marvel fan club even though she is Mary Marvel. What an arrogant bitch.

Soon: the second half of the book, sure to have many strange, baffling and funny-as-hell moments. The best, though, is the slap. It's so damn unexpected. You can tell Captain Marvel was just pissed off, because most of the time he and the other Marvel people just let the criminals shoot at them and try to beat them up until they're too tired to fight anymore. A good show of pacifism. But not this time. It's just BAM! back of the fucking hand! Don't fuck with the Big Red Cheese is the message, I think.